Being Alone

As most who know me know, I love being alone.

I can spend days, if not weeks, without human contact and not even bat an eye. I’m not saying this as some badge of honor or anything. Merely as a fact about me. And one pertinent to what I’m about to tell you…

Recently, my husband was heading to the East Coast to visit his mother for some one-on-one time. I was planning to stay home and enjoy my alone time.

Well… things didn’t go exactly as planned.

It just so happened that my grandfather passed away and his funeral was scheduled during the eight days my husband was also away, so needless to say, my alone time at home was interrupted with a four-day-trip to New York.

I had a day alone before flying to the east coast and then I had three days alone after returning.

I know this sounds ridiculous but I was savoring each one of them.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love and adore my husband and we are seriously perfect for each other BUT we BOTH work from home and though our apartment is nice and large, our kitchen is the size of a bathroom (not kidding!) so when we’re both in there, moving is difficult. For someone like myself who loves (no, needs) alone time, this is all very difficult. I also work nights part-time so my sleep schedule is all over the place.

Anywho…

My grandfather’s funeral was beautiful and we celebrated him with love. I have no regrets and loved him very much.

When I returned home, I was keenly aware of my alone time countdown. I reverted back to the Christina who lived alone for seven years. I pee’d with the door open, I walked around with zit cream on, I worked wherever and whenever I wanted. I slept soundly as there was no one there who could wake me up. I cooked what I liked and didn’t care if the house smelled of shrimp (my husband despises it!) All in all, I had a good time. Not gonna lie.

I was so enthralled with this aloneness though, that I shared a little too much about it with my loving partner, who needless to say did not care too much to hear about how happy I was living it up in Aloneville.

Our reunion wasn’t as heartwarming as it should have been and I take the blame. Rather than express how much I was enjoying being alone, perhaps I should have told my husband how much I missed him.

But the funny part of this whole story, the reason I am writing this long tale, is that I didn’t realize I missed him until after he came home.

I know. Crazy. But that’s how it went.

First, I started to see how nice it was to have him by my side at night. Falling asleep on him is one of my favorite places in the world to be. And sleeping alone, though it was great to sleep diagonally in silence with all the covers, didn’t seem as significant as before. And when something good happened, like when a piece of mine got published, sharing it with him made it so much more meaningful than smiling to no one in the room.

I also realized coming home from work to an empty place isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Sure, the freedom to do whatever you want is tempting, but much less satisfying that coming home to a smiling partner, who is waiting to eat dinner with you and genuinely tells you they missed you all day.

But what really got me thinking was a few days after my husband returned, I shared with him how much I loved him and that I try to learn about us and grow every day and how I want to show him this more… and you know what, it turned around his entire day, taking it from a shitty one to not so bad.

Love is powerful.

It teaches us daily if we’re open to it. But with it, comes responsibility.

Thank you, Don. For putting up with my demand for alone time but you know what, I might not need it as much as I thought…

 

Party of One

I was driving to a work thing today when I was struck with the idea of going on a date with myself. My boyfriend is out-of-town, and I was thinking of going out with him, but then realized I couldn’t, so thought about going alone and then decided I should make a blog post out of it since my goal is to write at least two posts a month…

Hence, my tale about my party of one.

It started off rough. I almost flaked on myself. After my work meeting, a friend/co-worker asked if I wanted to get some food. My initial thought was yes! But then, I DID make a date just an hour prior so… I mumbled an excuse and proceeded to my car.

I had already looked up showtimes for a movie and had found a Groupon for a Mediterranean restaurant a block from the theater on third street in Santa Monica that I was going to. I considered it fate and bought it, which so happened to be available for one, two or four people. Here’s a little fact by the way – there are very few Groupons good for one person. Either they are more than enough for two to spend or they specifically state that TWO PEOPLE must use it. Geez. Can’t the solo diners get some love too?

Anyway. I drove to the third street mall, which was barely recognizable from the time I worked around the block from it twelve or so years ago. I dug the vibe of silver and modernism of it all, not to mention the three-hour parking that only cost me $2.50.

Hummus Bar Express was yummy! I chose a spot near the front of the communal tables and wouldn’t you know, within minutes, a single lady diner was to my left and to my right. We didn’t say one word to each other, but I think silently we bonded in respect for one another. We solo diners. I got chicken, rice and salad. One of my favorite meals. I only ate half and decided to pack up the rest even though I was going to a movie.

And I’m glad I did because after purchasing a ticket (well, really using a gift certificate I’ve had in my wallet since last Christmas), I entered the theater to discover I was the only one in it. I took center middle seat and propped my feet up. I used to always sit a bit to one side but my boyfriend, being in the sound business, has really convinced me to always go for center, middle if possible. But I digress. It was two minutes til showtime. By the time the trailers rolled, three other solo movie goers joined me in this lonely theater and together, we watched a mediocre film. I really wanted to like THE FAMILY. I mean, it’s directed and co-written by Luc Besson who made one of my favorite films THE PROFESSIONAL. It’s executive produced by Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro and Michelle Piefer star in it. It had the elements. Unfortunately, it didn’t have a story. Or anything really resembling one. Sigh.

I stayed to the end though and was even able to eat the rest of my food. Considering all four of us movie goers were seated far enough away from each other to pretend we had the place to ourselves, I took full advantage of it. In that sense, the experience was very comfortable. And the soundtrack was great.

Without waiting for the entire credits, I left the theater and walked out to the half-filled promenade. Passing a guitarist and singers, I breathed in the tepid fall air of this dry October Los Angeles night and thought about what a relaxing evening it was.

I thought to myself, “We should do this more often.”

Going Solo

I am someone who loves alone time. I have never had a problem occupying myself and in fact, I down right enjoy my own company. I believe people need time to themselves, or perhaps that’s just me, but I also think it’s good to get out in the world and do things alone, without others you know. Is there not a correlation between confidence and the ability to be and act alone?

Today, I decided to test this a bit. I went into a local Mexican restaurant to have dinner, all by myself. This is something I have done before but not something I do terribly often. It takes a completely secure person to be able to do it and I like testing myself. It forces me to leave my head and partake in the world around me without the comfort blanket of a companion. It teaches me to stand on my own two feet around anyone and also to embrace the solitude of being a human amongst other humans.

So, today, I walked into a Mexican restaurant near my home and sat at the bar alone. Lo and behold, the place was having an amazing happy hour so I ordered a glass of their house Pinot Noir and proceeded to look over the menu before deciding on a chicken quesadilla and taco. I took out my phone to check messages and emails but the gentleman next to me started talking about the restaurant’s great margaritas. I don’t like tequila, and told him that, so he dropped it and moved on to talking about the election tomorrow. I told him I had worked on Ron Paul’s campaign and am a Libertarian more than anything else, letting him know I don’t like either candidate. He expressed his respect for Ron Paul, (something many people do in a way I have yet to see anyone do for any another candidate!) and then he moved on to talking about why he’s going to vote for Obama. Some other patrons at the bar started talking about the measure that’s up for vote for porn stars, to implement mandatory permits for testing and such. It became an interesting conversation and I was enjoying myself. I learned the gentleman sitting next to me was a scientist who went to MIT and had actually invented some method to convert energy into light for wireless communication.  By the end of my meal and conversation, I had given my card to a potential film investor, who had asked for it after I asked if he would ever be interested in financing a film.

All in all, it was a great dinner “alone”. Try it sometime. You never know what could happen…